History Person

Syed Siddiq Hassan Bhopal

Syed Siddiq Hassan was born on 14th October 1832 in Bareilly. He was from a distinguished family of theologians who, as Syeds, traced their ancestry back to the Prophet. Descendants of Hazrat Ali, Siddiq Hassan’s Shiite ancestors first settled in Bokhara and then migrated to Multan. There they became guardians of mosques and holy places until the family moved again, nearer to the center of power in the United Provinces, where they spread themselves in the well-known bastions of Shiite culture, Bareilly and Kannauj. Siddiq Hassan’s grandfather was an acclaimed scholar and theologian. He was employed in a high post in Hyderabad and was comfortably off, owning lands and property. The family prided itself on its erudition and scholarship, engaging itself in the doctrinal debate between various Muslim schools of thought.

Siddiq Hassan’s father, Syed Awlad Hassan, was also steeped in Islamic scholarship and became an ardent disciple of the Muslim reformers, Syed Waliullah and Syed Ahmad Shahid. These scholars belonged to the school of thought that believed in the puritan values of Islam, drawn directly from the Quran and Sunnah. They opposed the sanctification of Pirs and the Sufic rituals that had spread across the Sub-continent. They also believed that the Door of Ijtehad (signifying a consensus between the four Sunni schools of theology and legal interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah, the Hannafi, Hambali, Maiki and Shafi – that no further interpretation was warranted) should not be regarded as closed and were consequently ranged against the four main schools of Islamic jurisprudence of which the Hanafi was predominant in south Asia. This doctorine was called Wahabism, named after the Arab evangelist Abdul Wahab.

Syed Awlad Hassan announced publicly that he had converted from Shiaism to become a Sunni. This action led to ostracization from his family and from the Shiite fold. He also renounced subsequently all interest in material benefits, notably the land and property that his family owned. Thus, Syed Awlad Hassan’s missionary evangelism led his family into self-imposed penury. Syed Awlad Hassan died in 1937 when Siddiq was only five years old. His mother brought up Siddiq in hard times – often saved by friends and associates of his late father who ensured that Siddiq received a proper education in Arabic, Persian, Quranic studies and Hadith. Siddiq was a worthy student. As soon as he was 17 years old, he began looking for work and in 1854 landed in Bhopal, which was a haven for Muslim scholars and theologians. Siddiq arrived in Bhopal selling perfume, but soon found a job as a schoolteacher, augmenting his meager income by preaching at moques where he gave vent to the Wahhabi views held by his father, opposing the Hanafi school of jurisprudence and propagating a return to Islam’s pristine values. Eventually, in 1857, he fell foul of a leading Hanafi Mualvi in Bhopal, Abbas Chiryakoti, who had him shunted out of the state. Siddiq moved on to neighbouring state of Tonk, but when the mutiny swept across India, returned to Kannauj to protect his family. During these difficult days, Siddiq suffered from extreme poverty and anguish. He had only one change of clothes and his family spent days without a proper meal.

Eventually, Prime Minister Maulvi Jamaluddin, who had taken a liking to the scholarly intelligent Siddiq, persuaded Sikander to allow Siddiq’s return to Bhopal. Sikander commissioned Siddiq to write a history of Bhopal, paying him a substantial salary. He was soon employed by Maulvi Jamalluddin as a clerk in his office. In 1860, Siddiq married Maulvi Jamalluddin’s 39-year-old widowed daughter Zakia at the age of 28. By the mid-1860s Siddiq started climbing the administrative ladder, supported by his father-in-law. By 1865, Siddiq at the age of 33, was given the responsibility of acting as the private tutor to the vivacious, feisty 27 year old heir apparent Shahjehan. It was not long before rumours started circulating that Siddiq and Shajehan were emotionally entangled, being closeted alone for hours, ostensibly studying Arabic, Persian and Hadith! After Shahjehan became Begum, she promoted Siddiq to be her Chief Secretary. The private meetings grew longer as a result, and the scandal more intense. Shahjehan started addressing Siddiq as Syed Siddiq Hassan “Khan”, indicating an imaginary pathan lineage.

Siddiq Hassan soon ousted his father-in-law, Maulvi Jamalluddin, from corridors of power, using the emotional and intellectual grip that he had over the besotted Shahajehan. He was promoted to madar-ul-maham (Chief Minister), and made a word get through to Major Edward Thompson, Political Agent of Bhopal, that Shahjehan was pregnant with his child. He managed to convince Thompson that honor could be saved through immediate marriage. On 8th May 1871, a wedding ceremony took place, while the British made it clear that Siddiq Hassan will play a non-executive role. On Shahjehan’s insistence, the British accorded Siddiq Hassan with the title of Nawab Wala-Jah on 15th October 1872. There was wide spread resentment and dislike among the local Bhopalis over this alignment. Incidentally no child was born during the first year of the marriage.

As said earlier, Siddiq soon took over all control from Shahjehan, asking her to go back into Pardah. However the British stated seeing Siddiq as a man who sought power through the propagation of anti-British Wahabi extremism that called for jehad against the ruling infidels. At the time, an undercurrent of Islamic revivalism opposed British domination of the Middle East and Asia had emerged in Sudan under the leadership of the Mahdi and in Turkey under the Turkish sultanate. The British were therefore particularly sensitive towards Islamic nationalism rearing its head in India.

On the other hand modern historians see Siddiq Hassan in heroic proportions. He is regarded as one of the earliest anti-colonial stalwarts who used the power of the pen to assert Muslim nationalism. These historians consider Siddiq Hassan’s writings neither extremist nor seditious. They accuse the British of deliberately misinterpreting Siddiq’s works in order to strike down any political or religious movement that smacked of a nationalist revival. These historians regard Siddiq’s political views as a courageous expression of anti-colonial sentiment, representing the first stirring of Islamic nationhood. The humiliation and persecution he suffered at the hands of the British is seen as a badge of honor.

Update: This character sketch of Nawab Siddiq Hassan Khan is from a book titled “Begums Of Bhopal” authored by Shaharyar M Khan, grandson of Nawab Hamidullah Khan. From the comments, it is apparent that some take offense to this post. Anybody interested is invited to write a post on this for the BLOG, which will be published on the BLOG and credit will be given to the author.

18 thoughts on “Syed Siddiq Hassan Bhopal”

  1. Brief biography of Siddiq Hassan Khan (rahimahullaah)

    Shaykh Siddīq Hassan Khan رحمه الله explained the book Ad-Durarul Mudiyyah in his book ar-Rawdatun Nadiyyah.

    His name is Siddīq bin Hasan bin ‘Ali al-Husaynee al-Qannoojee al-Bukharee. His kunya is Abu Tayyib. His lineage goes back to Hussayn ibn Fatima bint Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم . His noble family is from the tribes of the Arabs and they migrated towards Bukharaa and then proceeded towards India, where they settled in a place called Qannooj hence his name al-Qannoojee. He was from a well-known family with knowledge, and beauty in their bodies as well as their Aqeedah.

    Although he was a Salafi scholar his grandfather was a Raafidee who used to consider some of the sahaabah to be disbelievers and he was against the fact that Abu Bakr and ‘Umar رضى الله عنهما were worthy of Khilafaah. The father of Siddīq Hassan Khan was a Salafi by Allaahسبحانه و تعالى granting him success. He studied under Salafi scholars and changed his way of thinking, even though his father was a Raafidee. This is the importance of ensuring that your children learn from teachers whose Aqeedah is pure, even if they are being taught in English.

    Some of his teachers were Shaykh Muhammad Noor and he went to Dilhee and learnt from Shaykh Abdul Azeez. He also learnt from ad-Dahlawee. When the banner of jihad was raised when India fought against the British, he participated along with Sai’d Ahmad and Sai’d Ismaeel. His father was a man of righteousness and he refused to take from the great amount of wealth that his Rafidee father left him.

    Shaykh Siddīq Hassan Khan was born in a place called Baas Barailee, about 122 miles to the North of Dilhee. This is where his maternal grandfather used to live. He was born on 19, Jumada al-Uula, 1248H. After that his mother brought him to Qannooj where his father was. At age 6 his father died and he became an orphan. When the children of the scholars are orphaned Allaah سبحانه و تعالى gives them a lot of strength and they are able to achieve much. His mother looked after him after the death of his father.

    At an early age he began to learn Arabic. His father left him a large library. When the cleaners were cleaning the library and a book fell he would go and take it up and browse through it and read it and understand what he could, even though he was quite young. He started studying from the scholars of al-Qannooj and after that he moved on to try and acquire knowledge from more scholars. This great imaam learnt from many scholars. He started by studying the Hanafi fiqh, then the Ashariyyah aqeedah then Allaah سبحانه و تعالى guided him to learn from the Salafi scholars the aqeedah as-salafiyyah e.g. the al-Qaadi Husayn Ibn Muhsin al-Ansaari al-Yamaani and Mu’ammar ibn Fadl-lillaah a muhaddith and his imaam Khairuddeen Allalusi and others. He benefited from them greatly, and he was upon salafiyyah as they were.

    After studying with these shuyuuk he had to leave the area because of the problems occurring in his country. He migrated to the Kingdom of Bhopal. There were scholars there and he found a job. He was then promoted and because of his noble character and knowledge the Director of the area asked the Shaykh to marry his daughter – Zakiyyah. He had two children with her – Noor al Hassan and Sai’d al Hassan.

  2. If you believe in Wahhabism which caused 9/11 and the Bombay bombings then this is the man for you. He married and abandoned one wife and seduced the Princess Royal, lied that she was pregant, tried to force his son on the next princess in line for the throne — age 12, who died of the stress, alienated the entire family. The people of Bhopal so hated them they received his ascent to the crown with mute silence and turned their backs. He corrupted the finances and left Bhopal all but bankrupt. All reforms and modernization was done only after he was thrown out for high treason. He denied all monies to the next princess in life to the point where she was all but starving. And he forced his wife back purdah when the Bhopals Begums had been the most liberated and progressive at the time. He also libeled Sikandar of Bhopal who was one of the most amazing queens in history. Read about Sikandar and then compare the Gloriana of India to this con man and say who is better!


  3. prof.Abdul Raziq Sb,
    As-Salam o Alukum!
    Please note Nawab sb has only 2 sons
    1.Nawab Syad Noor ul Hasan
    2.Nawab Syed Ali Hasan
    how you call Mr.Waqaas son of Nawab Sb?
    Please currect your info about Nawab Sb.
    Dr. Syed Siddique Hasan
    (G.Grand Son of Nawab Sb)

    1. Syed Waqas Hasan is my son. I am great great son of Nawab Siddqiue Hasan, great grand son of Syed Ali Hasan and grandson of Syed Amir Hasan.

  4. I, Rahmatullah persuaing ph.d on "CONTRIBUTION OF NAWAB SIDDIQ HASAN KHAN TO QURAN & HADITH STUDIS " from A.M.U Aligarh any one have any kind of infor me i will be highlly thankfull.
    Email add. rahmatullahkhan@ymail.com
    contact number 09897774853

  5. prof.Abdul Raziq said: hi to all i m working on P.H.D on ilm-e-tafseer of nawab sadiq hassan sahab.plzzzzzzzzz any person have some information or any thing which help me on mnawab sahab. i shall b really thank full to him ….. specially i request to syed waqas hassan.who is son of nawab sahab.plzzzzzzzzzzz.my contact number is (PAK)+92 03427640736

  6. Dr. Syed Siddique Hasan S/O Syed Rasheed-ul-Hasan (Late)
    I'm really disaponted to read this artical; its a mixture of fiction and wrong info.
    There are 5 PhD books available on the life of this great man, 3 of them from India (2 Aligarh Muslim University and 1 from Jamiya Miliyah Delhi) and 2 from Pakistan (1 from Karachi University and other from University of Punjab) so auther should read all of them and re-write this artical again.
    if any body wanna help please do feel free to contact me at sshasan.dr@gmail.com sshasanh@yahoo.co.uk
    Dr. Syed Siddique Hasan

  7. Salaam

    Iam Muhammad Usman Hasan and part of the 4th generation of this great person who contributed not only through his religious knowledge but cleared many misconceptions about the true faith of Islaam.The command he had over Arabic language should also be noted and is widely known through out the Arab world,not to mention the sub-continent.

  8. Assalamu ‘alykum everyone
    My name is Majid and am based in Canada. I am greatly interested in reading his tafsir ‘fath-ul-bayan’. Is it available in English, Arabic or in Urdu? Please help me as how to get it?

  9. I am 4th Generation after Nawab Siddique Hasan – great great grandson.

    There is some information here which is incorrect. The way the author of the book has described the events is INCORRECT. First of all, he was not interested in being called a Nawab and his life and works were all for Allah – his works speak for him. The nawab order of Bhopal could not conquer him and his personality AND the amazing powers he had – so of course there was resentment. We experience this even now. You must understand that he was, as we are, DIRECTLY from Caliph Ali and Fatma , from the lineage of Hussain.
    His fortune and fame did not come from the Nawabi of Bhopal, but from his amazing contribution to humanity – contribution which is still talked about and written about. Three books have been published on his life and works in ARABIC recently in Saudi Arabia. He is even given the title of Ameer.
    There are many other stories of his life, which remain with us and CANNOT be published.

    As is the story of his forefathers – going back to Ibrahim PBUH – worldly pretentious power is always challenged and overpowered by us – thus the resentment.

    Shahryar Khan has made up or imagined a lot of stuff about him and the begum. The Begum proposed to the Shaikh ! But I can understand his writing which comes from his resentment and frustration – many were frustrated at that time. What we cannot conquer or understand, we resent. I use that word a lot because this ALL what Shahryar feels. Shame on him. Was he there when the Begum and the Shaikh met?

    Finally, we are extremely proud of our GGgrandfather, we love him and admire him and seek to be like him. May Allah make us so.

    Ali Shah Hasan..

  10. This article is a gross mis-characterization of Nawab Syed Siddique Hasan.

    Especially in relation to his “romantic escapades” with Nawab Shahjehan Begum and his rise to power.

    I am certain janab Shahryar Khan, the author of the book has relied more on fiction than fact to create a slanderous sketch of one of the most prominent scholars and statesmen of his time.

    In the words of Lord Churchill, “do you have enemies? good. Then you must be taking a stand!”

    The words resonate in their truth because Nawab Syed Siddique Hasan was such a man. He effectuated change, was a leader by example and did not succumb to brown nosing to find favour; like others do and continue to slander him in their half baked attempts at authoring books.

    I will be making entries on this blog that will cite specific references. Those entries will point to the depth of his personality, his education and lay waste to the claims made by Janab Shahryar Khan’s claims in his “slander nama” and hopefully project my great great grandfather in the correct light.

  11. This title has lot of misinformation regarding the great Imam Siddique Hasan khan (Rohimahullaahu ta’aalaa)

    Please listen to Sheikh WasiUllaah
    ‘Abbas’s lecture where he talks about Imam Siddique Hasan khan.


    Please listen to the first lecture titled:
    Class # 1 = Intro about the book and its author

    Shaykh Wasi-Ullaah Abbas
    Teacher at Masjid Al-Haraam (Grand Masjid) Makkah
    Professor at Ummul-Quraa University, Makkah

  12. My name is Syed Waqas Hassan,20 years of age, I live in Deer Park, New York. Nawab Syed Siddiq Hassan is my great-great-great grandfather. He was a very respected and knowledgable man.

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